Digital purchases to support Overwatch teams

The home screen of Overwatch was today updated to show playable heroes wearing the brand & colours of Overwatch League teams San Francisco Shock, Los Angeles Valiant, Shanghai Dragons, Dallas Fuel, Seoul Dynasty and Los Angeles Gladiators.

Rather than get stuck into a session of Overwatch, I thought this is an easy start to my new blog. Although there are scores of topics I’d like to write about, to be honest this is my first blog in a long time, and I’m going to start with easy topics.

As part of the Overwatch League franchise model, ordinary players can purchase character “skins” to use while they play the game. Some of the revenue from skin purchases goes directly to the teams. This is essentially the equivalent of supporting a sporting team by purchasing a jersey, and builds awareness of the team brand by letting the player wear it during their own gameplay.

Skins will be integral to the AR economy

I believe that cosmetic purchases will be a vital part of the business model for the future of physical games. Furthermore, I am reminded of a prediction by Brian Sullivan, creator of Age of Empires, currently working on an AR game at Monsarrat: in AR, we will buy “skins” to make our home look like a medieval castle. This helps reinforce the idea that games of the future will be played literally anywhere, which I’ll write about another time.

In a sport/game application, the playing environment could be changed to look like a jungle, desert or urban dystopia. Players could purchase not only skins for their personal appearance – they could skin their ability effects, their territory. Skins could even be focused on audio, in collaboration with musical artists, as with the DJ Sona skin in League of Legends. The coffers will reap the benefits of subscription fees.

Physical gaming will unlock revenue for both digital and physical merchandise.